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Reminder: During August Recess, Reach Out to Congressional Reps
Friday, August 17, 2018 6:55 AM

The House of Representatives is shuttered for the month of August, and that means your representatives are back in their home districts. This is the perfect time to reach out and request in-district meetings in their home offices or in your credit union. A meetup will give credit unions an opportunity to show elected officials, first-hand, your commitment to the members and communities you serve and who are also their constituents.

The Senate will take only a one-week recess, from August 6–10, and you may still make inroads with them during that time as well.

Here are just some of the ways you can connect up with your lawmakers:

Campaign for Common-Sense Regulation

Credit Union National Association's Campaign for Common-Sense Regulation website houses step-by-step instructions on how to schedule and host branch visits with lawmakers—perhaps the most powerful way to elicit backing from your members of Congress for credit union priorities. Don't hesitate to schedule one of these visits. Lawmakers are actively looking to take these meetings to hear from the people they represent and to publicize them.

Tax Exemption Status

Currently, bankers are engaged in a letter campaign pitting small and mid-size credit unions against large credit unions. Make no mistake, their attempt to disrupt the system in this way is an attack on all credit unions. So this is a great time to remind your lawmakers about the benefits of the credit union not-for-profit tax status. The issue of tax reform is nearly always on the table, and preempting bank attacks or other unforeseen circumstances will ensure we maintain our position of strength.

If your lawmaker sits on the House Ways and Means Committee or the Senate Finance Committee, remind them of our industry's value and how our not-for-profit structure justifies our status. If you hear any lawmakers give any positive—or negative—statements about the credit union tax status, please let Cornerstone know.

Town Hall Meetings

In addition to branch visits, lawmakers sometimes host in-person and teleconference town hall meetings to hear their constituents' concerns. It's crucial credit unions have a presence at these public meetings to inform members of Congress how they can support credit unions and their local economies—their own constituency.

Other Ways to Be an Advocate for CUs

Credit unions have many options for getting engaged in advocacy year-round. If you've been thinking about getting engaged, we recommend it! It's the right thing to do. Here are some excellent ways to get engaged RIGHT NOW:

  1. Learn more about Stop the Data Breaches
  2. Connect with your congressional representatives in their home districts.
  3. Join Cornerstone's premier advocacy initiative: ROAR.

“Because of the momentum we achieved with the past several years of full-court-press advocacy, we have some real opportunities to advance significant change in the legislative arena,” said Cornerstone VP Political Affairs Gretchen Ziegler. “When people engage their lawmakers about what matters most to them, change occurs organically. And when our ‘people helping people’ philosophy intersects with our Army of Advocates, our voices compel momentous changes through our lawmakers. This is the power of advocacy.”

Join ROAR

Cornerstone is rolling out of its next-generation advocacy, grassroots, and political action campaign, ROAR—Ready, Organize, Activate, and Respond. ROAR consists of three key components to ensure credit unions gain political ground at state and federal levels: the Army of Advocates, payroll deduction, and the Member Activation Program, or MAP. Together, these components make advocates a more agile, vigilant, and robust force in Congress and in state capitols.

To be a member of ROAR, members must: 

  • Army of Advocates. Employees, board members, and members you identify who are interested in becoming more involved in advocacy.
      
  • Payroll Deduction. PAC dollars go to candidates—not red or blue, but purple—who show an understanding of credit union value to their members; who take pro-credit union positions; and who serve on committees of jurisdiction or in leadership roles. Even $1 per paycheck can make a big difference. 
      
  • CUNA's Member Activation Program, or MAP. MAP is designed to get members engaged in credit union advocacy, which in turn makes them part of the Army of Advocates. Research shows that members who receive MAP messages from their credit union CEOs become more loyal members. For example, in one of last year's MAP campaigns, 75 credit unions reached 4 million members with MAP messaging and got a 32.1 percent open rate—a high open rate for any campaign.

If you have questions about joining up with ROAR, please contact April Krause at 800-442-5762, ext. 6487, or akrause@cornerstoneleague.coop.